Are you a new landlord? If so, you may be wondering what you need to do to get started.
Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered! In this blog post, we will discuss 10 tips to help make your transition into landlord easy and smooth.
Keep reading for advice, from finding the right property to dealing with tenants!
Before Renting to Tenants
Renting out your property can be rewarding and lucrative, but doing your homework first is important. Here are a few tips for new landlords.
Understand Maintenance Costs
For anyone considering becoming a landlord, one of the most important things to understand is the actual cost of maintenance.
Maintenance is essential to keeping your rental property in good condition and attracting and retaining quality tenants. However, it can also be a significant expense.
To help control costs, it’s important to develop a realistic budget for maintenance and repair items.
Maintenance costs can be one of the most significant expenses for landlords. Here are a few tips to help keep costs down:
- Regularly inspect your rental property and make repairs as needed. This will prevent minor problems from becoming bigger, more expensive ones.
- Be proactive about preventive maintenance, such as changing air filters and checking for leaks. This will help extend the life of your equipment and avoid costly breakdowns.
- Keep records of all maintenance and repair work, including dates, descriptions, and receipts. This will not only help you budget for future expenses, but it can also be helpful if you ever need to file an insurance claim.
- Set aside a percentage of your monthly rental income for maintenance. For example, if you collect $1,000 in rent each month, you might budget $100 for maintenance. This will allow you to cover unexpected repairs while still staying within your budget.
- Build strong relationships with reputable contractors who can provide quality service at a reasonable price.
By being proactive about maintenance, you can keep your rental property in top condition while still controlling costs.
Get the Right Insurance
It’s essential for all landlords to have the right insurance in place to protect their investments.
Here are a few tips for new landlords:
- Make sure you’re insured for the replacement value of your property, not just the market value. This will ensure you’re covered if your property is damaged or destroyed.
- Get liability insurance to protect yourself in case one of your tenants is injured on your property.
- If you have multiple properties, get a portfolio policy that will cover all of your properties under one policy.
- Review your policy regularly and update it as necessary. This will help you make sure that you’re always adequately covered.
- Budget for your insurance premium. The cost of insurance will vary depending on the value of your property and the level of coverage you choose, so make sure to get quotes from several different companies before making a decision.
Following these tips can help ensure that you have the right insurance to protect yourself and your property.
Understand Local Laws
If you’re new to being a landlord, it’s essential to understand the local laws that apply to rental properties.
These laws can vary depending on the state or city where the property is located.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Check with your local city or county government to see if any specific laws apply to rental properties in your area.
- Be familiar with the basics of fair housing law. This law prohibits housing discrimination based on race, religion, and national origin.
- Ensure you understand the security deposit requirements, such as how much you can charge and when you must return the deposit to the tenant.
- Know the rules for evicting a tenant. In most cases, this will require giving the tenant written notice and a chance to remedy the problem (such as paying overdue rent). However, there may be additional steps required in your jurisdiction.
By taking the time to learn local laws, you can help ensure a smooth and successful tenancy.
Understanding the Needs of the Disabled
One of the things you may not have considered is that you may someday have a tenant with a disability.
While the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects disabled individuals from discrimination, there are still some things you must do as a landlord to ensure your rental unit is accessible and accommodating.
Here are a few tips for new landlords:
- Learn about the different types of disabilities. Disability comes in many forms, and each may present different challenges. By familiarizing yourself with the various types of disabilities, you can be better prepared to meet the needs of your tenants.
- Make sure your rental unit is accessible. The ADA requires that all new construction and renovations meet certain accessibility standards. If your rental unit is not currently accessible, you may need to make some modifications. For example, you may need to install ramps or widen doorways to accommodate wheelchairs.
- Be mindful of communication barriers. Some individuals with disabilities may have difficulty communicating verbally. You should be aware of nonverbal cues and use clear and concise language when communicating with tenants with disabilities.
- Respect the privacy of your tenants. Individuals with disabilities have the same right to privacy as everyone else. Be sure to respect your tenants’ privacy by keeping any confidential information about their disability strictly confidential.
By following these tips, you can create a rental unit that is accessible and welcoming for all tenants, regardless of their disability status.
Vetting & Accepting Tenants
Vetting and accepting tenants can be a bit daunting for any new landlord.
There are many things to consider, and ensuring you’re making the best decision for your property is vital.
Below are a few tips for new landlords to help you through the process.
Get Your Rental Application in Order
One of the most important things you can do as a landlord is to get your rental application in order before you start to vet tenants.
Your rental application will help you collect important information from prospective tenants and give you a better idea of who they are.
Here are a few tips to help you get your rental application in order:
- Make sure you include all the required information. Your rental application should include your contact information, the address of the rental property, and the date the tenancy will begin. You will also need a section for the tenant’s personal information, including their name, address, and contact information.
- Clearly state your expectations. In the application, be clear about what you expect from your tenants regarding rent payments, damage deposits, pet policies, and other rules and regulations. This will help to set the tone for your relationship with your tenants from the start.
By following these tips, you can ensure that your rental application process is smooth and efficient.
If you’re a new landlord, you might worry about how to find the right tenant for your property.
After all, you want someone who will take good care of your investment and pay the rent on time.
While it’s important to be choosy, you don’t want to discriminate against potential tenants.
Here are a few tips to help you find the right tenant without running afoul of the law:
- Familiarize yourself with the Fair Housing Act. This federal law prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, or familial status. That means you can’t reject a tenant simply because they have children or belong to a particular religion. You also can’t ask questions that could reveal information about a protected characteristic (e.g., “Do you have any disabilities that would prevent you from using the stairs?”).
- Make sure your application process is fair and consistent. That means using the same questions for all applicants and giving everyone the same opportunity to provide information about their qualifications. For example, refrain from giving preference to an applicant who happens to be a friend or family member.
- Remember, first impressions aren’t everything. Just because someone seems like a great tenant on paper doesn’t mean they’ll actually be a good fit for your property. Likewise, someone who appears rough around the edges may be an excellent tenant. The best way to find out is to conduct a thorough background check, which should include a credit check, criminal background check, and references from past landlords (if available).
Remember that everyone deserves a fair chance and that discrimination is illegal.
By following these tips, you can ensure that you provide everyone with an equal opportunity to rent your property.
As a new landlord, you want to make sure you find the best possible tenants for your rental property.
One of the best ways to vet potential tenants is to check their references.
This can give you a good idea of their rental history, employment status, and overall character.
Here are a few tips for checking references:
- Make sure to get personal and professional references. Personal references can give insight into a tenant’s character, while professional connections can provide information about their work ethic and responsibility.
- Contact each reference directly. This will allow you to ask specific questions about the tenant and get a more detailed picture of who they are.
- Ask each reference specific questions about the tenant’s character, habits, and rental history.
- Take your time in talking to each reference. Try to speak with them in person or on the phone to better understand who they are.
- Follow up with any questions or concerns after talking to the references. Follow up with any red flags. If something seems wrong, dig deeper.
Checking references is one of the best ways to find quality tenants, so it’s worth taking the time to do it right.
Renting your property can be a great way to earn extra income. But it’s also a big responsibility.
Before you start accepting tenants, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
Do a Walkthrough & Take Pictures
So you’ve just accepted a new tenant into your rental property. Congratulations!
One of the first things you should do after accepting a new tenant is to do a walkthrough of the property and take pictures.
A walkthrough will help you track the property’s condition and make it easier to resolve any disputes that may arise later on.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when doing a walkthrough:
- Take your time and inspect every property area, including the yard, basement, and attic.
- Pay close attention to any existing damage and note it in your photos.
- Have the tenant(s) present during the walkthrough so they can point out any concerns.
- Take plenty of photos from different angles to have a complete record of the property’s condition. Pictures help protect you if there are disagreements about damages or cleanliness down the road.
By taking the time to do a thorough walkthrough and taking pictures, you’ll be setting yourself up for success as a landlord.
Have a List of Responsibilities
As a new landlord, it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of your responsibilities.
This will help you ensure that your tenants are happy and that your property is well-maintained.
Here are a few tips for new landlords to get you started:
- In writing, outline your expectations for rent payments, repairs, and other tenancy agreements. This will help avoid misunderstandings down the road.
- Be prompt in responding to tenant requests or concerns. If there is a problem with the property, make sure to address it as soon as possible.
- Regularly inspect the property to make sure that it is properly maintained. This will help you catch any potential problems early on.
By following these tips, you can help ensure that your experience as a landlord is positive.
Establish a Security Deposit
One of the most important tips for new landlords is to establish a security deposit.
This will help protect your investment in the property and give you some financial cushion in case of damages.
There are a few things to keep in mind when setting up a security deposit:
- Check your state and local laws to see how much you can charge for a security deposit. This varies from place to place, so it’s essential to know the guidelines.
- Be clear about what the security deposit is for. This will help you determine an appropriate amount. In most cases, the security deposit is meant to cover damages that may be caused by the tenant.
- Be clear about when and how the security deposit will be returned. For example, you may require that the tenant give you 30 days’ notice before moving out and that the unit is in good condition.
- Remember that you will likely need to return at least some of the security deposit to your tenant when they move out, so keep it in a separate account and earn interest on it.
Following these tips, you can establish a security deposit that will help protect your investment and give you peace of mind as a landlord.
As a new landlord, you’ll quickly learn that one of the most challenging aspects of the job is terminating tenants.
Whether it’s because they’re not paying rent or they’re causing damage to the property, there are a few things you need to keep in mind when terminating a tenant.
Learn What Notices Are Required for Eviction, Late Payment, etc.
If you’ve never had to terminate a tenant, you may be unsure what notices are required for different situations, such as evicting a tenant or charging a late fee.
While the specifics vary from state to state, some general tips can help you navigate the process.
- If you need to evict a tenant, you will typically need to give them a written notice that includes the reason for the eviction and the date by which they must vacate the property. If the tenant doesn’t leave by the specified date, you can file for eviction with your local court.
- If you need to charge a late fee, you will need to give the tenant a written notice that includes the fee amount and when it is due. Again, the specific rules vary from state to state, so always check your local laws before proceeding.
By familiarizing yourself with the basics of notices for eviction and late payment, you can ensure that your experience as a landlord is as smooth as possible.
Serve the Appropriate Notice
If you’re a new landlord, there are a few things you need to know about serving notice when evicting a tenant.
Depending on the reason for eviction, different notices need to be given.
- If the tenant is not paying rent, then a 3-day notice to pay rent or quit must be given.
- If the tenant is causing damage to the property, then a 3-day notice to cure or quit must be served.
- If the tenant engages in illegal activity, an immediate eviction notice can be served.
It’s important to consult with an attorney to ensure that the proper notice is being served, as this can impact the outcome of an eviction case.
Deliver the notice in person or by registered mail. This will ensure that your tenant received the notice and can’t claim they didn’t.
Finally, keep a copy of the notice for your records. This will come in handy if there is any dispute over when the notice was served.
By following these simple tips, you can avoid any potential headaches down the road.
Inspect Your Property
If you’re new to the landlord game, you might wonder how to inspect your property.
After all, you want to ensure that your tenants take good care of the place and that everything is in working order.
Here are a few tips to help you get started.
- Schedule regular inspections – once every few months is a good frequency. This will allow you to catch any minor problems before they become big ones.
- Check all the major systems in the unit – electrical, plumbing, heating/cooling, etc. Make sure that everything is in good working condition and that there are no potential safety hazards.
- Talk with your tenants about their experience living in the unit. Ask if any issues need to be addressed or if they have any suggestions for improving the property.
By following these tips, you can ensure that your property is safe and well-maintained.
We Hope This Helps!
These are just a few tips to help new landlords get started on the right foot.
It can seem intimidating at first, but with a bit of knowledge and preparation, you can ensure that your experience as a landlord is both profitable and enjoyable.
Is there anything you wish you’d known when you started as a landlord? Let us know in the comments below!